Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How Drunk was Gary Pinkle? View the DUI arrest through the officer's camera

This is the latest release of Gary Pinkle's field sobriety test. It may give you some insight as to why he plead to the DWI charge so quickly.  Here are the tests you be the judge.

Here are the standard tests for field sobriety.

1. The one-leg stand
To perform the one-leg stand test, you must stand with one foot six inches off the ground while counting aloud in thousands (one-one thousand, two-one thousand, etc.) until the officer instructs you to stop. You are also required to keep your arms at your side, look down at your foot, and keep your toes pointed.

As with the other field sobriety tests, the officer will look for clues during the one-leg stand test. These include putting your foot down before the test is over, swaying while trying to balance, hopping, and using arms to balance. If you exhibit two or more of these clues, you could be arrested for drunk driving.

The important thing to remember about the field sobriety tests is that the scoring is entirely subjective. Police officers, like anyone else, can show bias if they already believe that you are under the influence. They may cite even minor actions as “clues.” In addition, the one-leg stand test is normally administered in adverse conditions that increase its difficulty. The flashing of the patrol car’s lights, a sloped roadway, and the glare of the headlights of passing cars may make performing this test extremely difficult. Also, people who are over the age of 65 or are more than 50 pounds overweight, or who have a physical condition should not be asked to take the one-leg stand test.

2. The Walk and Turn
While it may seem as though the walk-and-turn test is meant to measure the driver’s physical abilities, this is known as a “divided attention” test. This means that the test was designed to assess the driver’s ability to pay attention and to follow the officer’s directions.

To administer the test, the officer will place the driver in an awkward stance. The driver is expected to stand like this for a prolonged amount of time while listening to the police officer’s directions.

The officer will tell the driver to take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn and pivot off his or her front foot, and take nine more heel-to-toe steps back towards the officer. During this time, the driver must also count out loud the number of steps he or she has taken.

While the driver is taking this test, the officer is looking for certain criteria. The criteria are: inability to maintain balance while listening to directions, missing steps, taking an improper number of steps, stepping off of the imaginary line, turning improperly, or failing to count out loud while taking steps.

3. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
One common tactic used by police to detect intoxication is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, or HGN test. This is one of the many field sobriety tests officers use to determine one’s sobriety.

Police officers will ask the suspect to look at an object (usually a pen). While the object is moved back and forth, the officer is watching the eyes of the suspect looking for a lack of smooth pursuit. If nystagmus can be detected, the suspect will likely be arrested. Nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyes.

However, the HGN test is far from perfect. Many other conditions may cause nystagmus. These include:
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Stroke
• Brain Tumors
• Visual loss
• Sedatives

Unless the police officer is also a well-trained ophthalmologist, his or her tests are often completely inaccurate! Even if nystagmus is properly detected, alcohol may not be the cause. The HGN test is one way to identify intoxicated behavior, but is very ineffective if tested alone.

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